The difference between an audiologist and a hearing aid dispenser is often confusing.
A hearing aid dispenser is an individual engaged in the fitting or selling of hearing aids to an individual with impaired hearing. A hearing aid dispenser is focused on the sale of a specific item — hearing aids — and has the ability to test your hearing, but only as those tests relate to the fitting and sale of a hearing aid. A hearing aid dispenser is not required to have a degree in hearing health.
A Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) — someone more commonly referred to as an audiologist — is a professional with eight years or more of education in hearing and the rehabilitation of hearing. An audiologist is typically trained in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology/Communication Sciences and Disorders prior to attending the four-year doctoral program necessary to become an audiologist.
Audiologists are the primary health care professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in adults and children. They provide treatments by cleaning the ear canals; fitting hearing aids and other assistive devices; conducting auditory training, fitting and tuning cochlear plants; counseling patients and families; and conducting programs in aural rehabilitation.
More than any other hearing care professional, the audiologist understands how the degree of hearing loss affects communication with others and quality of life. Audiologists understand the emotional and physical issues involved with hearing loss and can address the fears and problems that can arise from this complex condition.
They build their practice on the care of hearing — not on the sale of hearing aids. Rehabilitation and technical training offered by an audiologist result in a more holistic approach to solving hearing problems. Educating and counseling patients and their families about hearing loss, as well as providing realistic expectations, are essential parts of an audiologist’s mission.
What Does Hearing Loss Sound Like
Visit one of our trusted partners, Phonak, to listen to a hearing loss simulator that compares three levels of hearing (normal, mild loss and severe loss) as you listen to several common sounds (sounds of nature, the city, a phone ringing, speech, music).
When is it time to seek professional help?
As soon as you feel you are experiencing difficulty hearing and/or understanding conversations, especially if you have begun AVOIDING situations and activities that you enjoy because of your hearing difficulties.
Choosing Your Healthcare Team
We are the Lewiston Auburn area’s only private, non-profit provider of comprehensive audiological services.